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First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion UK Online Daily

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Why are Companies Let to Take Citizens Exercising Their Fundamental Democratic Rights to Court So That Their Rights Could Be Curtailed by Injunctions: This Can Not Be Let to Continue and The Humanion Invites the Parliament’s Relevant Committee to Urgently Investigate This Alarming and Unacceptable Practice Being Abused: UKOG Back Off

|| June 26: 2018 || ά. No wonder Mr Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for the South East is supporting six 'brave and courageous' women from Sussex and Surrey due at the High Court on either July 02 or 03 to 'defend their right to peaceful protest' against UK Oil and Gas:UKOG. The entire Houses of Parliament should support these citizens, in this case, all women, for as citizens they have the fundamental democratic, civic and lawful rights to peaceful and legitimate protest against activities by any one or any agency, that is detrimental to public health and safety and that endangers and curtails human, civic and fundamental rights. For exercising these very rights neither any person nor any agency or body can take people to court to get injunctions sanctioned against them so to curtail and infringe on their rights.

In a democratic society this can not be let to continue to happen. The Humanion invites the Parliament’s, both Houses, relevant committees to launch joint urgent inquiry to investigate as to how these practices are increasingly being used by desperate companies against citizens so that they can move forward with changing this abuse of ‘protocol’. As for Mr Keith Taylor MEP, he is vocally and actively supporting the campaigners from across the South East and London, who are joining forces in support of these defendants and they will be outside the High Court to support them in their fight against UKOG's bid for a ‘chilling and anti-democratic’ injunction.

This manner by which UKOG has gone to court and applied for injunctions against a ‘class of people’, termed as ‘persons unknown’, is at best, downright ridiculous and, at worst, absolutely dangerous since this could, hypothetically, apply to all citizens of the locality concerned as soon as they join any protest against UKOG. The Parliament must ‘rise' from its seats in horror of this ‘Machiavellian’ but corporate ‘abuse’ of the Judiciary. The Parliament must rise to the challenge of challenging this abuse of the Judiciary in this manner by companies seeking to curtail and infringe citizens’ democratic and fundamental rights.

Mr Taylor, has supported the defendants throughout the process. Ahead of the hearing, he said, "UKOG is so desperate and their business model so unsustainable that instead of securing a social licence for their destructive operations, they'd rather drag local residents to the High Court, in the hopes of securing an anti-democratic injunction against their fundamental rights.
I continue to, wholeheartedly, support the six courageous residents taking up the fight in the High Court and wish them the best of luck in the fight for our rights, our environment and the future for our children and our children's children.

On the details of the injunction itself, one of the defendants, Ms Natasha Doane, who lives in Surrey, said, "I am concerned that the injunction, if, granted, would be likely to have a serious deterrent effect on local people being able to continue campaigning in opposition to UKOG’s activities.

From reading the injunction, it is very difficult to understand what is covered by the description of ‘persons unknown’ and how previously legal acts could in the future be considered ‘illegal’ and in what conditions this would come into effect and what the consequences would be."

Ms Lorraine Inglis, of the Weald Action Group, said, “This is a blatant effort to silence peaceful protest. The defendants decided to come forward on behalf of all of us, who object to this industry’s greedy attack on our environment including a healthy climate.

These oil companies are trying to change Government policy to fast-track their plans through the planning system, at the same time, as shutting down the opportunity for opponents to have their voices heard.”

UKOG has drilling sites across the South East, including, Broadford Bridge in West Sussex and Horse Hill in Surrey, both mentioned in the injunction. It, also, has a significant stake in the proposed drilling site at Leith Hill in Surrey and a planned new site on the Isle of Wight.

According to Mr Taylor, the company says that it is trying to stop various forms of legal protests, that affect its ‘commercial interests’. It follows in the wake of other wide-ranging injunctions by fracking giants Cuadrilla and INEOS, which are still the subject of legal challenge.

Although, the South East sites are not technically defined as fracking by the government, they involve similar methods like acidisation to access the hard to reach ‘tight oil’ locked into the shale. Local communities have voiced concerns about the potential risk to groundwater contamination, impacts of air pollution with flaring, problems of HGVs on narrow country roads and the loss of more countryside to concrete and industrial development.

Mr Taylor further points out that the CEO of UKOG MR Stephen Sanderson has said that he wants to see ‘back to back wells’ in an industrial production, this includes land in the Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

The Legal Team: The injunction will be challenged by Ms Stephanie Harrison QC, leading Mr Timothy Baldwin and Mr Stephen Simblet, leading Ms Anna Morris of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team, instructed by Mr Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

Caption: Defendants Ms Constance Whiston, Ms Vicki Elcoate, Ms Ann Stewart, Ms Sue Jameson, Ms Jacqui Hamlin and Ms Natasha Doane: Image: Keith Taylor MEP’s office. :::ω.

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Torture: The Barbarity Humanity Still Perpetuates Across the Globe: This is a Resource for the World to Fight Against Torture

|| June 24: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. A new invaluable resource for groups monitoring prisons and other places of detention around the world will play a key part in the fight around torture, experts have said. Abuse in jails and other places of detention can now be recorded with greater accuracy than ever before. A new system for recording weapons and restraints will help human rights monitors better independently document and track the use of torture in without the need to be reliant on information from authorities.

Although, many monitors have unrestricted access to places, where persons, may be, deprived of their liberty and many countries, also, have national bodies to prevent torture and ill treatment, there is a knowledge gap on how best to record the firearms, less lethal weapons and restraints often found in places of detention. It is hoped the new guide for monitors will prompt them to assess places of detention in more detail, looking beyond just checking they meet national standards and broadening the scope of what they examine.

The guide will equip detention monitors with skills to record cases of mistreatment in more detail, helping them to better recognise if weapons and restraints are being misused. The information will help to corroborate allegations of torture and ill-treatment made by detainees and could play a major part in fighting torture around the world.

The new guide Monitoring weapons and restraints in places of detention: a practical guide for detention monitors, was launched at the United Nations in Geneva, with a presentation to the Plenary of the UN Sub-Committee for the Prevention of Torture during its 35th meeting.

The guide was developed by Dr Abi Dymond, from the University of Exeter and by the Omega Research Foundation, a UK NGO, which researches the manufacture, trade and use of, military, security and police equipment. It will be used by the SPT and others human rights monitors as they document torture and help them compile evidence from survivors.

Dr Dymond said, “I hope, the guide will help to reduce and prevent torture around the world and enhance accountability for use of force. Focusing on the equipment used in prisons can help corroborate evidence and testimonies and help give an independent way to document mistreatment, rather than just information authorities want to give.

By helping to identify wrongdoing and misuse of weapons and restraints, this guide has the potential to improve relationships between prisoners and staff. It will help start discussions about the appropriateness of current policy and practice, and whether less harmful alternatives could be used.”

The guide was developed as a result of requests from several torture prevention bodies, including, the SPT. It helps such bodies to collate and monitor standards around the use of firearms, less lethal weapons and restraints in places of detention. It, also, shows them how to document what they see, what to ask and key observations they should make in prisons, hospitals and other places of detention.

The guide informs monitors to, particularly, look out for inappropriate items, such as, weighted leg restraints or electric shock weapons and encourages them to speak to prison staff to check their understanding of when they, may, use weapons and restraints, their understanding of human rights and whether they have skills to help them avoid using force.

Sir Malcolm Evans, Chair of the SPT and Professor of Public International Law, University of Bristol, said, “While some equipment may have a legitimate role to play in places of detention under strictly controlled conditions, others have no place at all, being inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading, yet, they continue to be promoted, marketed, bought and sold.

Monitoring bodies are increasingly starting to recognise the importance of accurate documentation of weapons and restraints in places of detention and of paying attention to the instruments used to inflict abuse.

Enhanced awareness of weapons and restraints can help torture prevention bodies to recognise when inappropriate equipment is being used or is being considered for use; to investigate the use of weapons and restraints where there are grounds for concern; and provide additional evidence around the allegations of torture and ill-treatment made by detainees.

Having been closely involved in the development of this resource, I am confident that it will be of value to a wide range of detention monitors and torture prevention bodies more broadly and will be an invaluable resource in the fight against torture.” :::ω.

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Joint Statement of Four UK Human Rights and Equality Bodies on Exiting the European Union: In Relation to Equality and Human Rights We Need Progression Not Regression

|| June 15: 2018 || ά. The four UK human rights and equality bodies, Equality and Human Rights Commission:EHRC, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland:ECNI, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission:NIHRC and Scottish Human Rights Commission:SHRC, which are the four statutory bodies for human rights and equalityin the country, have issued a joint statement on the UK exiting the European Union.  

In the statement the bodies said: We are united in our commitment to protect and enhance equality and human rights standards across the UK. We have jointly identified three priority areas, that should be protected and advanced in the course of the UK’s exit from the European Union.’’ These are: i: ensuring parliament gets a say in any proposed changes to the UK’s equality and human rights legal framework.

ii: retaining, at least, equivalent equality and human rights legal protections as those we currently have in the UK, we need progression, not regression and iii: ensuring the UK is a global leader in equality and human rights. ‘’We, also, consider that the protection of equality and human rights should remain a priority in negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement.

We are, particularly, concerned that loss of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU will lead to gaps in protection and that removing the Charter as part of the Brexit process would create significant legal uncertainty; retained law would simply be incomplete without it.

This is clearly demonstrated by the decision of the Irish Supreme Court on February 01, 2018 to refer a question to the European Court on whether it should refuse extradition to the UK under a European arrest warrant because of uncertainty whether the Appellant’s rights, including, under the Charter, will be capable of enforcement after Brexit.

The simplest and best way to comply with the government’s political commitment that substantive rights remain unchanged after Brexit is to retain Charter rights in relation to EU law throughout the UK. :::ω.

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